Thousand Ruby Galaxy. Astronomical digital images

Thousand Ruby Galaxy. Astronomical digital images

The Molinillo Austral galaxy or M83 is a huge, resplendent and beautiful galaxy that is only 12 million light years away. It is located very close to the southeast tip of the constellation Hydra. Its name comes from its spiral arms, traced by dark dust bands and blue star clusters, which give this galaxy the appearance of a gigantic grinder. But the reddish star-forming areas that are highlighted in his arms also suggest another name: the Thousand Ruby galaxy.

The image that illustrates this text was made from the data obtained with the Subaru Telescope, by the wide field camera of the European Southern Observatory and the Hubble Legacy file. The photo also shows Milky Way stars in the foreground and some distant galaxies in the background.

The M83 galaxy has about 40,000 light years in diameter, and is part of a group of galaxies that includes the active galaxy Centaurus A. The core of M83 shines in X-ray energies, indicating a high concentration of neutron stars and black holes , resulting from an intense burst of star formation.

The Molinillo Austral galaxy was discovered 250 years ago. At that time it was thought to be a nearby gas cloud. Much later it was found that M83 was a barred spiral galaxy very similar to our Milky Way.

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